Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers, essentially actors, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience, in a specific place, often comprising of a stage. The performers communicate the experience to the audience by the combination of gesture, speech, song, music and dance. Theatre entices the audiences and provides a mystical experience altogether.
Celebrated actors such as, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Deepak Dobriyal, Pankaj Kapur, SRK, Ratna Pathak Shah have all had theatre as their primary experience, to name a few. Our Bollywood fraternity is filled with actors who groomed themselves via theatre initially.
However, have we long forgotten to appreciate the art of theatre? Have we sufficed ourselves with just films, that doesn’t provide the allure that theatre does? Is the position and sustainability of the theatre industry under question?
The electronic media and the westernisation have surely impacted the visual representation such as films. However, with changing times, has the theatre in a bid to westernise itself lost its own charm? Or the electronic media poses such a threat to the theatrical plays?
Well, in modern cities, we still find takers who would want to immerse themselves in the pietism of theatre, however, the same cannot be said for the small cities, where the theatre artists are dwindling their thumbs due to fall of theatre.
Apparently, the number of theatre goers has fallen by nearly 60 per cent over the last decade in Raipur. Also, the theatre artists have been asked to analyse the reason for the decline of theatre in Karnataka. If the small cities forget the art, how much time does it take for the smart cities to do the plausible?
In many cities, theatre is not career-oriented, and many don’t have drama colleges that provide scholarships, like the government has done in the case of New Delhi, Bhopal and Bengaluru. It should be important for the government to establish National School of Drama, majorly everywhere, in a manner it has beautifully established in Delhi.
There is an utmost need to protect the sanctity of the mentioned art form, as it’s on the verge of being endangered, and in no time could be extinct if due attention is not given.
Also, the disinterest of people in watching plays is at an all time high. They can spend money to watch ‘Dilwale’ but when it comes to witnessing ‘Julius Caesar’, people turn the other way around.
Theatre is a powerful medium that protects literature and preserves it for the coming future, like it has done for so many ages. It should be the priority of people to conserve the art, to appreciate it more, to be as protective of it as people are of their folklore, of their own legacy.